Take That, Bigots: New VA Gov Reverses Discriminatory Old Policies

Virginia Statehouse
Virginia Statehouse

It’s a new day in Virginia, where incoming Governor Terry McAuliffe has some very pleasant attitudes indeed regarding the queers.

McAuliffe and his rival Ken Cuccinelli have different opinions on a great many topics (okay, on pretty much all topics), but workplace protections for LGBTs is at the top of the list. During the campaign, he pledged, “My first executive order, will be the same as Governor Warner and Governor Kaine before — to outlaw any discrimination in Virginia based upon any issue.”

And gee whiz, we found a politician who actually makes good on promises, because now he’s signing a trans-inclusive workplace protection order for state employees.

This is quite a turnaround from the bad old days of the former administration. Unpleasant outgoing Governor Robert McDonnell actually removed protections for LGBT employees, which is some pretty serious dedication to being a villain.

But as bad as McDonnell was, Cuccinelli might have been even worse. This is the guy who once write to Virginia’s institutions of higher learning, ordering them to eliminate any policies that protected LGBT employees. So, our condolences on your loss, Ken. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Of course, non-public employees still aren’t covered. A few municipalities (Williamsburg, Alexandria, Virginia Beach) offer employment protection based on sexual orientation, which is a nice start, but far from complete. McAuliffe has his work cut out for him if he wants to be Governor of a state where it isn’t kind of scary to be gay.

Meanwhile, AFER’s federal lawsuit against Virginia’s marriage ban is moving ahead. It’s now fully briefed, which means it’s up to the courts to come up with a date for the next hearing. Virginia has some particularly bad laws when it comes to relationship recognition (no civil unions allowed!) so this is yet another issue in urgent need of fixing.

The good news: McAuliffe’s in our corner on the marriage issue as well. See you in court!

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  • jwrappaport

    Outlawing discrimination on “any issue?” I cannot conceive of how that would be enforceable as described. I hope he’s narrowing his focus.

  • dvlaries

    Even in his concession, Cuccinelli was laying blame elsewhere, like McAuliffe’s larger war chest, not Cuccinelli’s voluntary subservience to tea party madness.
    No moderate Republican -among the few who still resemble one- wanted to go anywhere near this state to stump for him. He got Marco Rubio, Rand & Ron Paul, and Jim Duggar and that was about it. Meanwhile, Terry had Obama and Michelle, Hillary and Bill, as well as Joe Biden.

  • Billysees

    The good news: McAuliffe’s in our corner…..the article went on to say.

    That “IS” good news for sure.

  • Polaro

    Cuccinelli is evil. I am so happy we won this race. I am disheartened that it was as close as it was when Cuccinelli is so terrible a person. But, it is a step forward. Lets hope McAuliff proves them all wrong.

  • Kangol

    As much of an unappealing candidate and figure as Terry McAuliffe was and is, his election and actions now that he’s taken office demonstrate yet again that in general, it’s better to elect an ally (most Democrats) than someone (a tea-bagging Republican like Cuccinelli) who will deny you your civil rights, even if he promises to help make you wealthier. What is wealth without basic human and civil rights and protections?

  • Harley

    So now Virginia is safe from the repugnant-clan’s plans to gerrymander the electoral college in favor of stacking the deck against any democratic candidate. Now we have to keep an eye on Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Is only ONE of those states gerrymander the electoral collage we will be saying “President Cruz”. Can anyone spell “American Horror Story, Tea Party”. Frightening.

  • dvlaries

    @Polaro: That’s exactly it – in non-presidential years, it’s Republicans that still faithfully show up at the polls, by far. Here, less than 35% of eligible voters bothered, and that’s why it was so dangerously close. And Tuesday the 5th was a cool, sunny day, all day across the state.
    Here, read William Rivers Pitt, who makes the point with more imagination that I ever could:

  • Aires the Ram

    Even though it seems the Southern Baptist Convention (et. al) have been pushed back into their little corners of intolerance bigotry, to the point that they’re having a hard time winning elections, we can never forget that they’re always just right around the corner. I’m an out gay 55 year old man, who’s been out since I was 20 years old, and it was NOT that long ago really, that they controlled EVERYTHING. We must remain vigilant, at all times, and in all places.

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